Delta Sigma Theta hosts lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, highlights diversity
She stood in line patiently for several minutes, her hands fidgeting, her eyes wide. After all, it’s not every day you get to meet Santa Claus.
A white-gloved hand motions to Battle Creek resident Kameryn Agnew, 2, as it’s her turn to sit on Santa’s lap. She takes a few cautious steps, glancing at her mother, LaJoy McNutt, for approval, before locking eyes on a candy cane in his hands. This, she decides, might be worth the trip. She gently grabs it from his hands and is embraced by Santa, and the two share a few words inaudible to anyone except them.
“It was scary, but it was fun and I’m glad she was happy and excited about it — it’s Christmas,” McNutt said. “She was scared — she doesn’t know, for sure, who Santa is — but she liked it.”
McNutt and Agnew were two of the about 60 people in attendance Saturday for Lunch with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, an annual event put on by the the Battle Creek Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. The event, held at Second Missionary Baptist Church, 485 N. Washington Ave., provides a fun holiday environment for area families with an opportunity to pose for an all-important photo with Santa.
Lynn Ward Gray, president of the Battle Creek Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, said the event also is an opportunity for children to take a photo with a black Santa, generally considered a rarity in most areas Christmas is celebrated.
Gray said one aspect of the event is about “spreading the diversity” to provide options for parents and children to see themselves reflected in the celebration of Christmas.
“One of things we always remember is going to the mall or a community center and having a picture with Santa,” Gray said. “It’s one of those cherished events young people look forward to and we like to be able to provide this opportunity for minority children so they can have a lunch with Santa experience and a photo with a Santa that reminds them of them.”
That detail wasn’t lost on the many in attendance, including Battle Creek resident Vasanta Thompson and her grandson, Ryan, 3. Thompson said it’s significant for Ryan to see diversity in Santa Claus, though she’s certain he’s still too young to understand its importance.
“Santa is not just one color,” Thompson said. “He can be brown, he can be white, he can be any color — Caucasian — whatever. At this age, I don’t think he would notice the color of Santa. He’s looking more of what Santa stands for — the toys, the gifts.
“As they get older, they will figure it out, but at this age, it’s about being good, Santa’s coming, let’s go see Santa.”
The donated gifts — as well as the balloon animals crafted by a female clown named Dimples — were a highlight for some of the children on Saturday.Asked what he wants for Christmas this year, Ryan took a peak over to the tree on display at Second Missionary Baptist Church to decide the right answer.
“I want a (toy) tractor,” he said, quietly. “I think it would be fun.”